It goes without saying that the Middle Eastern Metal scenes are bulging with brilliant talent, no matter how underground the bands are (and if we talk about Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria or Iraq then they have to be really quiet). One problem. It's apparent that there is a lack of support from the music industry in this region apart from Jorzine, those based in Israel and The UAE and of course a small contingent of loyal Middle Eastern metalheads. But even more pressing is there sheer lack of attention from western record labels towards the brilliance of these bands in the Middle East (you know who you are; because you don't have any bands from there on your roster).
One label from North Macedonia decided to do something about that and sign Jordanian Thrash Metal outfit Exile, in turn releasing an album and plan on expanding their music operations. Israel has Orphaned Land, The UAE has Nervecell and now Jordan has Exile. Vocalist / Guitarist Nader Elnatsheh filled in the details of this monumnetal event in the band's history, spoke about growing up in Jordan and spoke out against the major labels across Europe turning blind at the Middle East Metal contingent; albeit Nervecell (Lifeforce), Orphaned Land (Century Media), etc.
Nader on Exile signing with North Macedonian record label Darzamadicus Records:
For those who have not heard of Exile, can you give us a brief history of the band?
"Hi Rhys, this is Nader the guitarist and the vocalist of the band. First of all, thank you for interviewing us. Well, Exile was formed in 2008, I had a couple of songs so I started to look for members to join me, Hasan (former bassist) joined me and he introduced me to Tayyem (the drummer). The first EP (Dead Thrashers Rising) was based on aggressive riffs, the songs somewhat short but fast and it was released in 2009.
Afterwards, Hasan had to leave the band to pursue his career out of Jordan in 2010, so Ibrahim joined us right away and started to rehearse on our full length album which was releases in 2012. (Suspended Society... Mutilated Variety) was more technical as we musically evolved than the previous record. We did a lot of gigs in Amman promoting the album as well as playing in Istanbul and Cairo, of which these two events gave us a boost to continue. We have received a lot of positive feedback from all over the world, from reviews and interviews, and many radio stations all over the world played our album in their national stations.
The following years of 2012 we somehow lingered, both Ibrahim and I got married and during these years we were looking for a fourth member to join the band to expand the sound of Exile but we couldn’t find any, so we decided that we are going to continue like this. In 2017 I started to complete and shape the songs I had, to release a new record. In December 2018 we released a new record (Unveiling Insanity). The album is more melodic and technical and we have received and still receiving positive feedback.
Now I am writing new songs hoping to release something at the end of this year or the next one."
What is it like growing up as a metalhead in Jordan? Is the music frowned upon there?
"It’s difficult, because the majority of the Jordanian society is closed minded. They think that we are devil worshipers."
Jordan seems to have a good history of metal exports in Ajdath and Bilocate, what does the future hold for the Jordanian Metal scene?
"Yeah, we had a couple of good years when metal was thriving in general. We had gigs and bands, however, all of that ceased to exist. Most of the bands split up either to play Arabic alternative music which I despise or to play covers in bars which is sad. As far as I know Bilocate is one of these few bands that still active."
How does it feel to be signed to North Macedonian record label Darzamadicus Records? What are your thoughts of your label mates in the Syrian Death Metal band Absentation?
"It’s good; it’s a feeling of progress that we have achieved something since the major record labels are turning a blind eye on the Middle Eastern bands. We have a good deal with Darzamadicus Records but we are looking forward for a better one of course. Frankly, I haven't had the chance to listen to them yet but sure I will."
You recently had air play on a Guatemalan Metal radio station, do you feel metal music brings the world together in ways no other genre can?
"Of course, the internet is very important for new bands, it gives the exposure that none of the old bands had before. But it is also creates a competitive medium which in my opinion is a good thing to see where are you at in the metal community."
For metalheads visiting Amman, what sights or attractions can you recommend? Any good venues?
"For a normal tourist I would say, we have a lot of historical places in Jordan, such as Petra and Roman Ruins of Jerash and in Amman you can visit the Roman theatre in the downtown. For metalheads, hmm, nothing to see really, there are no record stores no metal bars no venues."
What plans does Exile have for the rest of the year?
"As I mentioned I am writing new songs hoping to release something this year and we are really looking forward to play the new songs live."
Do you have any greetings you wish to send out to friends, family etc?
"I would like to thank my family and friends. All the fans for their great support. Thank you again for the interview and cheers \m/\m/"